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ND Women’s Soccer

Irish earn No. 3 seed in NCAA tournament

| Tuesday, November 10, 2015

No. 11 Notre Dame learned its fate for the upcoming NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championships on Monday, earning a three-seed draw and a first-round matchup against Oakland.

When the selection committee released the 64-team bracket, the Irish (13-4-1, 6-4-0 ACC) found out they will play host to the Golden Grizzlies (8-5-7, 7-1-3 Horizon) in the first round of the NCAA Championship at a Alumni Stadium on Friday. This marks the program’s 23rd straight NCAA Championship appearance.

After the matchup was announced, Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said she is very excited with her team’s draw in the tournament.

“I feel great about it,” Romagnolo said. “I’m just excited about our team and what I think we can do. We have a lot of potential.”

Despite failing to qualify for conference postseason play, the Irish grabbed a No. 3 seed in the tournament. In fact, Notre Dame was one of seven ACC teams to be seeded in the tourney, as Florida State (No. 1), Virginia (No. 1), Clemson (No. 2), Duke (No. 3), North Carolina (No. 3) and Virginia Tech (No. 4) all earned high seeds as well. Boston College also received a bid to round out the eight ACC teams in the field.

Notre Dame’s first opponent, Oakland, is coming off of a run that led them to a Horizon League Championship victory over Wright State on Saturday. Despite dominating Horizon League play this season, the Golden Grizzlies finished the year with a 1-4-4 out-of-conference record. They shared three opponents with the Irish early on this season — Toledo, Western Michigan, and Michigan State — and the Irish held a record of 2-0-1 in those games, while the Golden Grizzlies went 0-2-1.

Notre Dame’s portion of the bracket also features No. 2 seed Rutgers, who finished second in the Big Ten this season, and No. 1 seed Virginia, whom the Irish took down in a 2-1, double-overtime victory on the road earlier this season. Should they emerge from their region victorious, the Irish would be set for their first appearance in the College Cup since 2010, when the program last won a national championship.

Romagnolo said she believes her team has a challenging yet exciting road ahead of it.

“In this field of 64, there are so many great opponents, and every team is a great team,” Romagnolo said. “Every game is win or go home. I like our bracket, and I think we have a great opportunity. But there are no easy games for us, so we have to show up and give our best performance every game from now on.”

The Irish will begin their postseason run Friday, when they play host to the Golden Grizzlies at 7 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.

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About Benjamin Padanilam

Ben is a senior and The Observer’s former Editor-in-Chief, now serving as its interim Sports Editor. He is in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and also pursuing minors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Business Economics. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, and has enjoyed the few highs and many lows of being a Cleveland sports fan.

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